Friday, April 04, 2008

Junk Beautiful

I was recently given the opportunity to receive a copy of this book and write a review here for all of you! Since I already am a fan of the Junk Market gals - I was really excited to get to do this! I don't know about you - but when my Country Home arrives, there are a couple of regular features I'm excited to see right off and the projects these ladies come up are always high on my list!

I decided that there would be no better way to review the book than to actually try one of their projects myself. And, after a quick look through the book - I knew immediately what I wanted to start with.

Let me preface this by saying - David has always hated our paper towel holder. Why? Because every time he'd try to get a paper towel, the whole thing would come down. I never seemed to have this problem - but it never worked right for him. It's not like I was attached to the one we had - it was here when we moved in! Here it is:

I chose to make a new paper towel holder because of the above mentioned frustration and because I already had everything I needed to make it! I know this will cause some of you to roll your eyes - I mean how many people have an old (vintage looking) croquet mallet in their shed just waiting to make it into a paper towel holder?! Well, I did! I got four of them for $1 each several years ago at the Paris Street Market, a very fun event by the way!

I found a piece of scrap wood and cut it in half. Then I stapled the bottom edges together to make a flat surface to rest the mallet on. I spray painted the whole thing black and sanded the edges to distress it a little. I also trimmed the handle of the mallet, so it wasn't so long!

Then I used Gorilla Glue to hold the mallet onto the base and then nailed it on tight with nails underneath. I topped off the unfinished cut on the handle with a button just nailed on.

Here is the finished project:

That night, David needed a paper towel and instead of offering to get one for him - I suggested he be the first to try this out! He loved it, he said, "much better!" with a sigh of relief in his voice.

This book is filled with lots of great ideas for using things in creative ways. Each chapter includes the story of a family who had a problem room/area in their home and called these ladies in to help them out. Often they added on space to the home and in each case, the transformation was dramatic. While I won't be adding on to a room in my home or re-doing it to the degree that they show in each of the chapters, my favorite things are gleaning the small scale ideas.

I have bookmarked many pages with ideas I'd like to incorporate in our home in the future. A couple of favorites are making a children's art display out of old windows and serving chips in a tambourine!

Now, a natural response to this is, "where do you find the junk?" And, I will admit that it is a response I have myself. Their junk is so neat and full of character! And, they definitely know where to find it. A couple of places I know I can check are thrift stores and the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I don't know of flea markets or junk barns near me - but it sure would be fun to visit one! I'm guessing that this is one of those things where you just have to keep your eyes open and be willing to be inspired by something that doesn't look inspiring at the time.

I think the overall tone of the book is to help us think differently about items and show us ideas of how to reuse them in different ways. It has a very can-do attitude and theme throughout. I'm not nearly as tool-savvy as these gals are - but I still felt like I could do it if I really put my mind to it because of their encouragement.

Do you have something old in your home that is being used in a new unconventional way? I'd love to hear your own junk creation stories - and hope you will get a chance to look at this book and be inspired as well!


Jthemilker said...

I was thinking that you were going to use that croquet mallet as a hammer and her you have made IT into your project!!! LOVE it! Great job and so unique!!

*carrie* said...


I just saw an ad for this book on another blog yesterday, and wondered about your review. Fun to see your thoughts and especially your project. Very cool!

Anonymous said...

Great to read about this book and the project it inspired for you (which looks great)! As you know, the Junk Market column is also one of my favorite features of Country Home -- and now they have a whole book! Those gals really know how to "think outside the box" when it comes to envisioning the potential of something others consider junk. Thanks for sharing! :) Love you, Mom

Katy said...

love your new paper towel holder!!! How neat and fun!!! This book sounds fantastic!! I love the idea of making old things into something new!
Have you ever seen "decorating cents" on hgtv? They have a part on there called "trash to treasure" is the same idea as this book...and i love it!!! :) thanks for sharing this with us!

Rachel said...

What a fun project! And this book looks like a great resource. I've noticed that the longer I shop at thrift stores, the more the creative juices flow. Good work!

Carrie said...

What a cute idea! I'm definitely going to have to see about getting my hands on a copy of that book!
God bless :)

Tessa said...

That is a cute project! And it cracks me up that you had some croquet mallets just ready for such a project... ;)

gail said...

i have other books with this theme and love them. i'm not very good at making the stuff tho. love the croquet idea.

i'm having a contest over at my blog and will be giving away a few different books. check it out.


Mary Ann said...

We have the same issue with our paper towel holder! LOL!

Great job on using your resources!

Gena said...

You did a great job on your paper towel holder! You are just so creative and crafty.

I saw this book advertised in my Country Home and wondered if it would be good. I'm glad you reviewed it for us. Now I just might have to get myself a copy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica and Friends,

Thanks so much for all of your kind words and wonderful review of Junk Beautiful. Writing this book was a labor of love and I am so happy that it is being well received. I love your spin on the paper towel holder. Keep up the good work. I'm in Portland, OR now and headed out the door in just a bit to a book signing. Thanks again and take care.

Junkingly yours,

Amy said...

LOVE IT! Very thrifty and practical. I am going to add that book to my reading list. Between you & Carrie, I have enough to read for another year ;) So creative!

Kindra said...

Ooooh this book looks like a keeper. I love to do trash to treasure! I will have to check it out!

Kimberly said...

I love the Paris Street Market! Did you live in Denver?

Sue said...

I will be at the Paris Street Market signing books on May 3rd from 9AM to 11AM. Would love to meet you.


thehomespunheart said...

Kimberly - No, I lived in the Springs - we drove up for the event!

Sue - I'd LOVE to do that - but I live in SC now, so maybe another time! :)

Anonymous said...

Clever, clever! I'm going to have to get that book. :)

Shiloah B. said...

You are so creative! Fantastic!